Hanagal voters hope for winds of change

Around 80 per cent of people in the taluk are farmers or farm labourers. Paddy, sugarcane, cotton, maize, mango and horticultural crops are the mainstay.

Published: 27th October 2021 06:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th October 2021 06:10 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai addresses voters during a campaign at Kopparasikoppa in Hanagal on Tuesday | EXPRESS

Express News Service

HANAGAL: Hanagal, a semi-Malnad taluk in Haveri district, shares the culture of Malnad and the plains. But when it comes to politics, the voters had mostly stuck with CM Udasi (earlier with Janata Dal and later joined BJP) and Manohar Tahasildar (Congress), giving them alternative terms. However, in the case of Udasi, he had managed to win two consecutive terms on two occasions.

Around 80 per cent of people in the taluk are farmers or farm labourers. Paddy, sugarcane, cotton, maize, mango and horticultural crops are the mainstay. Alphonso and red coral are widely cultivated mango varieties here and are exported to other metro cities and abroad too.

Two rivers — Varada and Dharma — flow in the taluk, but ironically, there is no dam or reservoir to supply water for irrigation. The Dharma reservoir in Mundgod taluk of Uttara Kannada district brings water to the taluk through a canal, but due to a shortfall of rain, it is not regular. Farmers depend on rainfall and water from rivers, lakes and underground sources.

The Varada river flows in the southern part of the taluk and the northern part is mostly dry. There was a long-pending demand to take up a lift irrigation project to fill lakes in northern parts. When B S Yediyurappa was Chief Minister, the Balambid and Hirekaunshi lift irrigation projects were sanctioned to fill 280 lakes and the work has been completed. They are likely to be inaugurated after the bypolls.

When it comes to basic infrastructures such as roads and other facilities, the taluk fares better than the others in Haveri district. When C M Udasi was minister on two occasions, roads and other works had been taken up on a big scale and it continued till recently.

Siddappa Kanavalli, a farmer from Hanagal, said many farmers grow tonnes of mangoes here, but there is no cold storage unit to store them till farmers get good prices. “People have been demanding cold storage and processing units, which are still a pipe dream,” he rued.

Manoj Kumbar, an engineer diploma-holder, said either they have to go to Bengaluru or other metro cities or they have to look for small jobs in Hubballi. If any agriculture-based industries are set up here, it will help educated youths as well as farmers to get good prices, he felt.

In the bypoll, political parties have been promising support for agriculture and related industries here. Along with a change in leadership, people are hoping that the fortunes of farmers and others too will change.

Hanagal neighbours Shiggaon constituency represented by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Though it is a prestigious bypoll for the CM, the constituency will witness a direct flight between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.

There are 2,04,481 voters, including 98,953 women and 3 Others in the constituency. Of the 2.04 lakh voters, 73,000 are Lingayats, 28,000 SCs, 35,000 Muslims, 25,000 Gangamathastas, 10,660 Maratha, 10,000 STs and other voters. Lingayats, Muslims and SCs are the deciding factors.

Congress candidate Srinivas Mane is facing the Hanagal electorate for the second time. He contested against C M Udasi in 2018 and lost by 5,000 votes. For BJP candidate Shivaraj Sajjanar, it is his first election. 



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